Exclusive Interview with Berthine Crevecoeur West
Today we’d like to introduce you to Berthine Crevecoeur West.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
Thank you! My name is Berthine Crevecoeur West and I am the DEI/Conflict Resolutions Strategist and CEO of Westbridge Solutions, a Learning & Development company. I’m a New Yorker who has been living in Metro Atlanta for the past 14 years. My story began with what could have been considered a failure: I got laid off from my first and only job here in Atlanta, just when I learned that my husband and I were expecting our baby. Needless to say, I was at a loss as to what I was going to do next. After 1 day of mourning a job I, admittedly, never enjoyed, the next day decided to create what would become the foundation of my company and our signature training platforms. I performed a SWOT analysis on myself, not only to discover my strengths and weaknesses, but to also create a rubric that would empower me to do not only what I was great at, but what I also enjoyed doing! Oftentimes, in life, the two are not aligned and it requires a degree of intentionality and clarity on our parts to make them so. After this analysis, I realized that I could use my multilingual skills (I am a speaker of 4 languages), as well as the knowledge that I had amassed while working in the corporate, legal and financial sectors. I knew that entrepreneurship was the right and only path for me to achieve my goals and empower others to achieve theirs, as well.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
Success definitely did not come easily, as I quickly realized that being multilingual was not enough. Although I have a Master’s Degree in Government & Politics, as well as a Certificate in International Relations, I decided to get professional training as a Healthcare Interpreter and eventually became the first nationally-certified Healthcare Interpreter for Haitian Creole in the state of Georgia. This set me on the course for my work not only with linguistics, serving clients both domestically and abroad, but also prepared me for my work in the Cultural Competence, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion arenas. The next hurdle after creating my company was gaining access into this industry, as well as finding clients. Gaining access also required me being intentional and clear as to not only what becoming a member of professional/networking groups/boards would add to my professional experience, but also being clear about the value add I could bring to these organizations, as well. Networking, challenging myself and stepping outside of my comfort zones has empowered me with those skills and provided me with laser-sharp focus on not only what I can achieve regardless of whatever challenges may lie ahead, but also serves me well when helping teams and organizations tackle challenges they may face. Another challenge is oftentimes being the only woman in the room, gaining respect in male-dominated industries. Representation matters, especially when you are a thought-leader and an agent of positive change in a company’s cultural mindset. This too, requires clarity, a process and a plan.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
I believe that the power of knowledge is transformational. As a Conflict Resolution Strategist, I also know that conflict of any sort arises from either a skills gap, a knowledge gap or the combination of both. As a DEI Strategist, I realized that traditional DEI trainings were usually unsuccessful for a variety of reasons, but mostly because the DEI trainings I had taken across the country were focused only on teaching one group about every other group (which is not actually inclusive and creates the false notion that all underrepresented groups share a monolithic experience). In addition to that, most traditional DEI trainings I have encountered have been centered around politically-correct language, which is oftentimes inaccurate and vague. I knew that if Westbridge Solutions was going to truly empower people and organizations to achieve diverse, inclusive and equitable mindsets and cultures that we had to break away from the traditional paradigm. I set this course and have never looked back. People choose to work with us because of our capacity, knowledge and ability to marry softs skills training (skills gaps) with knowledge gaps (cultural competence) to create customized trainings for individuals, teams and organizations at every level. We call this process Organizational Actualization. We also deviate from our competition by realizing that DEI trainings must be trained from various standpoints: the C-Suite from an Organizational standpoint, Management from a Managerial Standpoint and Staff from a day-to-day interactive standpoint. This is what sets Westbridge Solutions apart and makes us successful.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
One of my favorite quotes is from Socrates, who once said “Know Thyself.” This quote has always served me well and led me to create a process that I have employed and taught others to master and incorporate within their businesses. It’s called the Westbridge Solutions 4A Blueprint. The Westbridge Solutions 4A Blueprint consists of the following steps: 1. Awareness, 2. Acknowledgment, 3. Analysis and 4. Action. Let me tell you a bit more about it: 1. Awareness — Be conscious of who you are — your values, your vision and your mission. 2. Acknowledgment — Recognize where you currently are in your journey, as one cannot reach one’s destination without first knowing where one stands. 3. Analysis — Take stock of yourself and your current business model, breaking it down to perform a detailed evaluation of what is in alignment with your vision and mission. 4. Action — After completing the above 3 phases, craft your action plan. This plan details how you are going to achieve the goals you have now clearly established and will serve as your blueprint for success.
The Westbridge Solutions 4A Blueprint, I have found, holds true for both my personal and professional lives, as well as those of our clients. We employ it in our trainings, but especially with our Executive Coaching programs. It has proven itself to be both beneficial and successful to our clients and colleagues, alike.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
I love that question! Success, to me, means freedom. Not necessarily the freedom to do whatever you want, as there are indeed, things which we are obligated to do. However, I mean the type of freedom to choose the type of work I want to do, the freedom to select the clients with whom I want to work, the freedom to create a schedule that balances both my personal and professional lives (which isn’t easy) and the freedom to create space, empower, encourage, educate and inspire others to attain that same success, that same freedom, as well. However, I should note that this freedom and this success is not free. I had to make many mistakes in order to learn and achieve this. It required diligence, a process and intentionality. Friends would always say to me (especially during the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey), how lucky I was that I could work for myself. However, what they (and even I, initially) didn’t realize was that luck had absolutely nothing to do with it. The successful entrepreneur is one that is a futurist. It’s the who isn’t afraid to fail (several times, at that). It’s one who dusts themselves off and not only focuses on where they currently are in their journey, but is laser focused on where they want to be and how they want to be. They focus on client needs without sacrificing their integrity. Success requires responsibility, to both your clients and yourself. I’m grateful for it all.
What’s next for you?
So much is in store! In 2020, I published my 4th book and it became an Amazon #1 Best-Seller. My 5th book is scheduled to be published before the end of 2020. In addition to that, Westbridge Solutions has continued to create DEI trainings (both in-person, and virtual) with a focus on teams and Executive Coaching. We have also launched our DEIMS (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Medical Specialists) and DEIALS (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Attorneys and Legal Specialists) programs. We also will continue to focus on DEI initiatives by focusing on Board and Supplier diversity, as well as innovation through DEI, connecting demographic shifts to organizational strategy, integrating cultures amidst mergers & acquisition activity, promoting neurodiversity, creating diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces and mindsets through strategic purpose and partnerships, in addition to continuing to train innovative global DEI best practices and empowering professionals for success. Our podcast, “The Global Fluency Podcast” is gearing up for Season 3 and available everywhere you catch your favorite podcasts. In addition to that, our digital magazine “Global Fluency Magazine” is scheduled to launch its first issue in December 2020 and is exclusively available on our Patreon platform. Though 2020 has been a challenging year for us all, at Westbridge Solutions, we see these challenges as a time to grow and evolve. I have led my team to do just that. I am also looking forward to continuing to serve as a Virtual Keynote Speaker both domestically and internationally.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more.
I’m always delighted to connect with people! You can find me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/berthinecrevecoeurwest/. You can also contact Westbridge Solutions via our website at https://westgrouptraining.com/ , follow us on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/westbridgesolutionsllc/ , send us an e-mail at email@example.com or you can call us directly at (678) 856–7941. For exclusive access to our digital magazine, you can find us on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/globalfluencypodcast. Westbridge Solutions and I are looking forward to creating more authentic conversations, empowering communities and organizations, building networks and creating active allyship.